Let’s talk about hospital waiting room etiquette. I wrote this post while sitting in the hospital waiting on my Grandmother to have a heart valve replacement. I was awake until 2 a.m. and back up at 5 a.m. so we could check her in at 6:15 a.m. Needless to say, I was exhausted and a wee bit cranky. It was one of those days when I literally asked the O.R. nurse to hook up an I.V. in my arm so I can go to the cafeteria and fill the bag full of dark roast, but experimental caffeine delivery wasn’t under clinical study at that facility.
Hospitals bring out the best or worst in families. I’d like to say I was shocked by the angry woman yelling at the hospital employees standing out because hospital policy states that she has to smoke in a designated areas, which doesn’t include the hospital entryway. The explanation that children with asthma come through these doors on the way to the children’s hospital for treatment didn’t matter, because “they should build a different door.”
What are some of the do’s and don’t’s when you’re waiting in the hospital for your loved one to come through a procedure?
Hospital Waiting Room Etiquette
- Shower. Take a shower, wash your hair and wear deodorant. Stinking up the waiting room guarantees you will be persona non grata to the rest of us sitting here all day. I wish I were kidding, but I am not.
- Put on clothes. Grown people wearing Sponge Bob fleece pajama bottoms – no. I know it’s going to be a long day. I know it’s tiring and you want to be comfortable. But you’re going to feel better, and be taken more seriously when dealing with business issues at the hospital, if you have actual clothes on.
- Wash your hands before leaving the bathroom. You are using the toilet. You are touching your genitals. In a hospital. In a public place. Hospitals are covered with bacteria and germs. We don’t need your junk germs combined with the rest of the icky stuff floating around in a body fluid stew.
- Use your indoor voice. Need I say more?
- Turn your cell phone ringers off. I do not need to hear a pig squealing for every text message and phone call you receive. Nor do the rest of the folks sitting in the waiting room. The same goes for watching videos on your cell phones or iPads. Bring your earbuds or resist the temptation. This is also another good reminder about remembering to use your indoor voice.
- Do not use the speaker function on your mobile phones when taking a call. This needs its own space, because there’s an entire waiting room of people who don’t want to know about your menstrual issues or you best friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s mother’s ex-husband’s third marriage.
- Be nice. None of us want to be sitting in that waiting room.
- Clean up after yourself. There are a multitude of waste receptacles located in hospital waiting rooms. If you can’t find one, the very nice people at the desk will point you to the nearest one.
That’s all I have. I’m tired, I know more about the people around me personal lives than I do my own and need to find a bottle of hand sanitizer and Febreeze.